Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Rachel & Miles Review the X-Men, Episode 69

Weeks of 12/30/2015 and 1/6/2016:

In which we review two weeks’ worth of books in one video; Worst X-Men is not remotely; and Jay has Opinions about photoreference.


  • All-New Wolverine #3 (00:38)
  • Uncanny X-Men #1 (02:04)
  • *X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever #1 (06:58)
  • Deadpool & Cable: Split Second Infinite Does Anyone Ever Even Bother Reading These Subtitles #6 (10:08)

*Pick of the Week (12:36)

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  1. Chuckled at Miles longing for the days of reviewing more than 1 or 2 X-books a week.

    I really appreciated the analysis of Uncanny X-Men #1, because it specifies a lot of the qualities about Land’s art that concerns me that I have struggled to find precise words for. I reluctantly added this book to my pull list despite these concerns, as I found his work on the Future Imperfect Secret Wars tie-in series to be mostly “not distracting”. But as with Monet in this issue, the questionable photo references are very jarring and stand out when they do show up. I’ll give this series an arc or two to see how it goes, as I trust Bunn to have some good stories in mind with this ensemble.

      1. I’d just changed out the metal eyebrow rings I usually wear for much lighter glass retainers, and MY FACE FEELS SO WEIRD. It’s like a very low-key version of the DBZ training-in-a-zillion-times-Earth’s-gravity thing.

  2. I took Uncanny off my pull list because of Land, and it’s staying off until he’s gone. Reading Uncanny #1 in the store, I found myself really intensely disliking it. Monet is a character I somewhat care about (I liked her in X-Factor), and here she looked weird and fake, like so many other women drawn by Land. Like a creepy doll or mannequin or something.

    Maybe I was having trouble mentally separating the writing from the art, but I didn’t think Monet was written well either. She was so blatantly “look at how awesome I am, see, I’m pretty and have superpowers!” that she seemed to have no class, no subtlety, no refinement. Her flirtation with Sabertooth, too, seemed really blatant; and I didn’t get any sense of why she’d be attracted to him.

    Of course, a good artist can do a lot to convey the tone of how something is said, and show how one character feels toward another; Land’s seeming inability to portray genuine emotion is an obstacle that I don’t know if any comics writer could really overcome.

    Monet and Land aside, I had problems with the plot of this issue too. So there’s a terrible poison that’s just out there all over the planet, apparently, and it kills and sterilizes mutants. And for some reason, Magneto and the rest of this crew have a huge problem with mutants hiding from this poison. They think every mutant needs to somehow help instead of hiding. But how are they supposed to help, actually? Few, if any, of these hiding mutants are biochemists or environmental scientists or epidemiologists or any sort of people who would have any real way of doing anything about the Terrigen Mists or the M-Pox. So Magneto et al want all the mutants to quit hiding and… do what instead?

    And by the way, it’s not like Magneto et al are actually helping the overall situation by doing what they’re doing. Maybe they should, for instance, go and terrorize a pharmaceutical company into devoting all its resources to finding a cure for the M-Pox. Or use Monet’s and Psylocke’s powers to mind-control a defense contractor into developing a chemical weapon that neutralizes the Terrigen Mists. Or, you know, something useful rather than assaulting and threatening a bunch of mutants who didn’t cause the problem, can’t solve the problem, and are just trying to survive.

    I suppose this is hardly the first time Magneto has pulled a dumb terroristic stunt (see, e.g., the Grant Morrison run), but why would seemingly intelligent characters like Monet and Psylocke go along with it?

    OK, I’m done ranting about Uncanny #1. Thanks, as always, to J&M for your excellent insights and thoughts on all the X-books.

    1. Sorry, I think I accidentally and wrongly implied that Magneto isn’t intelligent. What I meant is that he’s a smart guy who sometimes does dumb things (or at least things that seem that way to me), often involving grandiose gestures that scare people, similar to what he and the team did in Uncanny #1. I don’t know if M or Psylocke are more intelligent than Magneto, but I would think they are more levelheaded and less prone to doing crazy stuff.

    2. You pointed out some flaws that I hadn’t quite managed to figure out, myself. There was something about the story of the issue that bugged me, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. Thanks for figuring it out for me.

      Truthfully, the “plot” of this issue felt like an excuse. Bunn wanted to start the series by showing his team kicking some ass, so he pulled something out of his ass to justify it.

      UXM just did not impress me at all, and even with an artist who wasn’t a colossal hack, I wouldn’t have been very impressed.

  3. Wolverine’s still great. Great writing, great action, and a really interesting storyline unfolding.

    Worst X-Man Ever is great! It’s fun! It’s joyful! It has a character who’s actually excited to be a mutant. That is so nice to see. It’s a really good comic.

    UXM . . . OK. In terms of the art, my thoughts on Greg Land begin at incoherent rage. I’ve seen too much of his work to ever be capable of enjoying him to even the slightest extent, because I’ve seen every single face and pose he does. It’s most noticeable here with Monet, who is Every Land Woman Ever. Same faces, same expressions, the exact same. Remove the colours and she’s impossible to tell apart from his Emma Frost or Monica Rambeau. Greg Land is a hack.

    In terms of the writing, I wasn’t blown away. Bunn’s Monet sounds wrong. I’m a big fan of Monet, and her voice just feels off here. And the little flirtation with Sabretooth? Ew.

    But the big problem is I’m not sure what sets this book apart. Sure sure, it’s a villain team, except only one of them here is currently a villain. (Two, once Mystique joins.) It’s the dark X-Men, which would mean something if EXM wasn’t already so dark as well. So what’s the hook here? What actually sets this apart from EXM? The first issue doesn’t really answer that question.

    So, I was nowhere near as pleased with UXM as you were.

    1. And I just saw @FemmesInFridges on Twitter point out how weird it is to have a Holocaust survivor exposing a minority group to a poisonous gas. So, yeah, there’s a lot in this issue that’s just really weird to me.

  4. I love the look on Jay’s face when Miles is complimenting Greg Land’s work. Unimpressed and dry. Something like “Really, dude? Really?”

    I didn’t buy Worst X-Man Ever (didn’t seem like my cup of tea) but I like the sound of this line-up composed of the best versions of characters. My first instinct (not sure if great idea or idea that says bad things about me as a person) is to cross that with a humorous take on A-Force into an X-Men: Teen Girl Squad, starring Kitty ca. 1984, Magik and Mirage ca. 1988, Jubilee ca. 1992, Surge, Wind Dancer, and Wallflower ca. 2004, and Pixie and Mercury ca. 2010.

  5. Im going to say something controversial here. I like Greg Land. I haven’t seen it all, he’s not my favorite, I’m aware of his weaknesses, but… I usually like the stuff he makes. It pleases my eye. For me, the rule of “letting things be cool” usually applies to the posey-ness of his figures.

    That being said… I’m also not offended by this take of M. I don’t know her whole history… rather got to know her during the previous run of X-Men. This take on the character seem organically derived from the one we saw in that series. It seems that she is meant to bring some youth and vitality to this line-up – a fresh take with a light heart, a young woman very proud of herself, surrounded by older jaded team mates.

    It makes sense to visually depict her in this “shampoo commercial” kind of light. It’s kind of how M sees herself. Note the contrast between her and Betsy, who often takes herself too seriously, to a point of fault. Im guess I’m just saying, it’s probably not entirely a display of how much Greg Land sucks – he’s got to be aware of his weaknesses. Maybe he is using it as a crutch – but it is a crutch that for me, makes sense in the story and works with what the writer has delivered him.

    One more thing! I don’t feel like this is a mis-named X-Force… the most important element of X-Force, for me, has always been covert operations. Yes, seedy and violent character usually go along with that theme. But there is nothing covert about this team, they are doing this wide open. It would be wrong to call them X-Force, so I’m glad they aren’t.

    Anyway that’s my take. I like this series a lot and I’m looking forward to more. Bunn’s Magneto was fantastic and this seems like an organic next step for a lot of these characters. I’m excited we get more of this newly aligned Sabertooth, which was underused in the last run of Uncanny Avengers.

    Worst X-Man ever seems great! I think I’ll pick it up in trade or digitally once complete. Its how I like to digest my mini-series these days.

    1. Thanks for chiming in! I know it can be a bit daunting to say you like something amid a crowd of folks who very vocally don’t, so props for that. And for what it’s worth – I like Land’s work on Uncanny a lot better than any of his other work I’ve seen, so I’m cautiously optimistic about this book. And, like you said, Bunn has a hell of a track record with Magneto, so I’m psyched to see where he takes the character as a team leader!

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